This week was extremely productive and definitely felt like a bit of a breakthrough in comparison to the previous two weeks at St. Joseph’s Villa (I missed last week.) Before this week, the students seemed a bit abrasive, both to us mentors and to the material itself. I think a lot of the improvements revolve around us mentors beginning to learn how to best communicate with the students at the Villa.
Thankfully, as we found our grove in addressing the group of students, a few more students trickled into the room. So instead of having two or three students, as we did in weeks prior, our number grew to about six. At this point, we were really able to dive into the script and better engage the students in particular roles. Through asking about preferred amount of lines and explaining the characters, the students worked out the roles pretty easily. Certain students wanted more involved roles with certain characters and others just wanted to be a part of the production.
Finally, after kind of explaining the plot and explaining the roles, laying out the character assignments fairly loosely, we began to read the script. I was really surprised that we got started this early and it was awesome to see that the students were actually curious about the play, asking questions when confused by Shakespeare’s language. Essentially, we did a read-through of the scene we are working on, stopping about halfway through. At the end of every page, we would sort of stop and explain where we are in the story to the students. This proved really helpful as it kept students engaged and interested as opposed to drifting attention as they grew more confused.
I think next week the play might really start to take form. With certain roles laid out pretty clearly, and us already diving into the script, I think we might be able to get into the details of the play. I hope the students are as excited about each week as we are.